Women Are Some Kind of Magic by Amanda Lovelace

Women are Some Kind of Magic – A Queendom of Books

Women Are Some Kind of Magic is a poetry and prose series by Amanda Lovelace, dealing with themes of toxic relationships and self-love. The series consists of the princess saves herself in this one, the witch doesn’t burn in this one, the mermaid’s voice returns in this one, break your glass slippers, and shine your icy crown.

Amazon.com: break your glass slippers (You Are Your Own Fairy Tale) eBook :  Lovelace, Amanda, ladybookmad: Kindle Store

Lovelace writes about common themes in many women’s everyday lives with a tone that mirrors the simple advice of a best friend. Her writing is empowering in a way I haven’t really seen before- the poems are short, and the illustrations are succinct, but the confidence and self-assuredness she possesses really shine through.

shine your icy crown by Amanda Lovelace, ladybookmad, Paperback | Barnes &  Noble®

I just recently finished the last book in the series. The books don’t have to be read in order- you can read them as stand-alones, but I personally preferred them in series format. These books are simple and easy reads- you can finish one in just about a day. I originally intended to use the books as ‘palate cleansers’ between some heavier reading material, but I was actually pleasantly surprised! It is typical run-of-the-mill, feel-good prose, but Lovelace has a style of writing that makes even simple phrases and writing seem profound. I would definitely recommend this book to any woman feeling down- it really helped me 🙂

-Vaidehi B.

Late in the Day by Ursula Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin on Twitter: ""One way to stop seeing trees, or rivers, or  hills, only as 'natural resources,' is to class them as fellow  beings—kinfolk. I guess I'm trying to

Late in the Day by Ursula Le Guin is a poetry and prose book, encompassing Guin’s writings towards the end of her life. The book is based on nature- on subjects as vast and meaningful as the sea, to as simple as a Canada lynx walking through a forest. However, in each small poem, Guin cleanly delineates each small, but significant lesson that the natural world can teach us.

I really enjoyed this book. I haven’t read poetry and prose for quite a while, and was a little apprehensive about a book as simplistic as this one, but I was completely surprised by the implicit depth and complexity of Guin’s writing. What I found unique about Guin’s writing is not her syntax or the breadth of her expression (both of which were, by the way, incredible), but her ability to use mundane, everyday situations, common to us all, and weave them into a detailed tapestry on every subject, from society to love to life itself.

Le Guin herself passed in October of 2018, but her writing is timeless, and as meaningful (arguably more so) to our world today as it was seven years ago. The necessity of interconnectivity and harmony with the natural world becomes more pressing day by day- and Le Guin’s writing masterfully explains why and how.

-Vaidehi B.

T. S. Eliot’s “Lovesong of J Alfred Pufrock” Analysis

Love has been a hot topic in poetry for a long time, being a common topic in poems and even used by names as big as William Shakespeare himself. T.S. Eliot, a British poet from the early 1900s, is no exception to this. In his poem, The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, the use of certain language and details throughout the stanzas of the poem helps indicate that the “You and I” mentioned at the beginning refers to Prufrock and a woman.

To start, Eliot uses the phrase “In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo” (Eliot lines 13-14 and lines 35-36) twice. The repetition of this phrase shows that women are on Prufrock’s mind, and it is something that he feels concerned over and pays attention to. Prufrock also notes that these women are talking about Michelangelo, which implies that they are talking about somebody who is very popular and prestigious: something that Prufrock is unlikely to be able to live up to. After the first time, this phrase is said in lines 13-14, Prufrock begins to talk about a yellow fog and smoke. The fact that the fog and smoke are yellow can be taken as an archetype for friendship, which may suggest that after hearing about Michelangelo, or somebody who Prufrock could never be better than, Prufrock feels that he may be seen as a friend rather than a lover, showing his loss in confidence. This same sense of lack of confidence can be seen after the second time this phrase is said in lines 35-36, where Prufrock begins to question himself about whether he should propose to this woman he is talking to, saying “‘Do I dare?’ and, ‘Do I dare?’” (Line 38). This questioning of himself represents how he feels that he may not be good enough for any woman, especially compared to the Michelangelo that these women seem to talk about. This observation followed by the loss of confidence in Prufrock implies that Prufrock refers to a woman in the phrase “you and I” through the fact that women talking about Michelangelo seems to have a genuine emotional impact on Prufrock. 

Next, Prufrock acknowledges “lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows” (Eliot line 72). Lonely men in shirt-sleeves has a very unromantic implication to it, and this unromantic way of life seems unappealing to Prufrock. This unappeal is supported by the two lines following it, stating how Prufrock feels that he “should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of the silent seas” (Eliot lines 73-74). These lines represent how Prufrock has hit a low point in life, as the floors of the sea are some of the lowest points on Earth. Such highlights how Prufrock feels very lonely and longs for some form of a romantic relationship, as the sight of the lonely men makes him feel as if he has hit rock bottom. This continues the idea that the phrase “you and I” talks about Prufrock and a woman, as a woman is the only thing that could fill this romantic void that Prufrock is experiencing.

In addition, the image of the mermaids singing in line 126 can show how Prufrock’s dream of a romantic relationship and a change in life is killed. For most, the image of a mermaid singing has a feminine aspect to it, as mermaids are typically female figures. In the line following when mermaids are first introduced, Prufrock notes “I do not think that they will sing to me” (Eliot line 127). Such implies that women do not seem to notice the presence of Prufrock and that he is of no interest to them. This observation, similar to the women talking of Michelangelo, seems to have a negative emotional effect on Prufrock, as in the last line of the poem, Prufrock says “Till human voices wake us, and we drown” (Eliot line 133), which essentially says that Prufrock’s dream has been killed. A cause-and-effect relationship is established here, where the mermaids not singing to Prufrock leads to his dream being killed. Because of this, it can be inferred that the absence of interaction with women in his life leads to Prufrock feeling meaningless and having his dream killed, implying how the “you” mentioned at the beginning refers to a woman. 

Prufrock is most likely to be referring to a woman with the use of the word “you” at the beginning of the poem due to the many hints of negative emotions caused by issues regarding women that are seen in the poem. These negative emotions could all be resolved by a drastic change in Prufrock’s life, which could include engaging in a romantic relationship or marriage with a woman. 

Ode to the Beach Poem

Whenever I see you I am comforted,

By your magnificent waves that crash against the sand.

When I see you I think of the magical creatures that are swimming in your oceans,

As well as the trillions of rainbow-colored fish I see each time I snorkel in your waters.

Whenever I step foot onto your sand,

I feel the sand between my toes,

That feels like home.

You provide a sense of comfort whenever I come to you,

As well as everyone else like my family and friends.

You provide a gathering spot where people of all ages can socialize and have fun,

And play in the sun.

Your oceans are sparkling like big diamonds wherever I look at them,

Which provide perfect picture spots.

There is so much I can do when I come to you,

Like play with sand toys in the sand,

Which make great big sandcastles,

That causes friendly competition.

And I can play in the water,

Whenever I go in,

I feel like I am by myself,

And that time has stopped.

I will always love coming to you.

-Abby V.

Poem of the Day: Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

I recently came across the poem “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, and really enjoyed it, so I thought I would share it here!

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening -

On the surface, this seems like a very simple poem, speaking of a traveler and his horse stopping on a snowy forest, on an unknown plot of land. The woods here represent wildness, and nature in its purest form- they are past the outskirts of the village, past the bounds of human settlement. Still, the speaker acknowledges his humanness and worldly responsibilities, sadly admitting that he must keep them. However, this poem has a darker undertone- and there are other reasons that the speaker cannot stay in the woods. They are to be admired from afar- if the traveler becomes trapped in the snow and loses his way, he may well freeze and die. The horse, representing human society, seems confused at his owner’s admiration of the woods- representing society’s inability to appreciate nature in its fullest, rawest capacity.

-Vaidehi B.

Poem of the Day: Dulce Et Decorum Est

Content Warning: This poem contains violent descriptions.

I recently read the poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen, and found it a heartbreaking but realistic message of what war is like, especially the World Wars. Read it below!

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
– My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen was a soldier during World War I, and later in his life, he suffered from severe PTSD. This poem details the horrors of chemical agents used in the war- such as sulfur and mustard gas. Owen speaks in gruesome detail of how he watched one of his fellow soldiers die from breathing in this gas. At the end, he also rebukes the supporters of the war (and all wars), saying that they know nothing of what war is really like, and simply send young men off to their horrible deaths. He mocks the saying dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. This is a patriotic Latin saying, meaning it is sweet and honorable to die for your country.

-Vaidehi B.

Authors We Love: Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur Has Been Accused of Plagiarism: Did She Steal ...

Rupi Kaur is a Canadian-Indian poet known for her prose publications Milk and Honey, The Sun and her Flowers, and most recently, Home Body.

Born in Punjab, India, on 5th October 1992, Kaur immigrated to Canada with her family when she was very young. She grew up poor- her father was a truck driver who was on the road for long periods of time, and her mother was often busy taking care of Kaur’s three younger siblings. However, poetry and art were a large part of her upbringing- her father would write prose poems for her mother, and her mother loved to paint. When she was still a university student, she began posting her short prose poems onto Instagram, and gained a modest following on her social media platforms. In 2009, she began performing her poems for small events, under the simple stage name of “Kaur.” After dozens of failed submissions to publishing houses, journals, and magazines, Kaur self-published her first book of poetry, Milk and Honey, in 2014. The book was a massive success, and later re-published by Andrews McMeel- one of the leading poetry publishers in America. Three years later, in 2017, Kaur released The Sun and her Flowers. It was an even greater success than Milk and Honey, garnering Kaur millions of dollars in book sales and millions of new followers across her social media platforms. In November 2020, Kaur released her third book- Home Body. The book became one of the bestselling books of the year.

Kaur’s work deeply resonated with me personally. In her writing, she discusses prominent themes in today’s world. She succinctly and beautifully captures the niche feelings of growing up an immigrant in a new country, in a new world- especially as a young girl. She also masterfully dissects sensitive topics such as those of sexual violence, and the politicization/sexualization of women’s bodies in today’s society. Her writing is simple, beautiful, and therapeutic to read. They are truly incredible dissertations on everything from the fallacies of love to the difficulties of family to the oscillating pendulum of self-love and self-hate that people often have with their bodies. I would recommend her work to everyone!

-Vaidehi B.

All three books mentioned above contain some sexual themes that may not be suitable for all audiences.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur is available for checkout from Mission Viejo Library. Milk and Honey and Home Body can both be downloaded for free on Overdrive.

Poem of the Day: Mirror

“Mirror” by Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite poems. Plath’s writing style is calm and matter of fact, but the poem is still filled with beautiful symbolism and imagery. Read it below!

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful ‚
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.

Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

Antiques Atlas - A Dainty French Rococo Oval Gilt Wall Mirror

To me, this poem symbolizes a fear of aging and death. It is told from the perspective of a cold and objective mirror- whose owner looks into it constantly, and is constantly horrified by what she sees there. However, the mirror is not completely objective- it only reflects physicality, so the owner does not gain a true sense of themselves when looking into it. The poem beautifully describes the passage of time- the mirror details how it has witnessed the woman that is its owner pass through childhood and into adulthood, becoming more and more horrified by her age. Plath uses the descriptor “a terrible fish” to show how the idea of mortality horrifies the woman. Plath also tackles themes of feminism in this poem- youth and beauty are very valued in a patriarchal society, and women are expected to conform to very strict beauty standards.

-Vaidehi B.

Mooreville High

Sebastian Elizarraras

Sunday afternoon was a warm relief
We wanted to hold on stubbornly to that last minute
Instead of living the ones to come
Only seeing the most painful parts of the week ahead
Slamming lockers on a Monday, trying-
To summon up the will to believe that it gets better
But was it really that bad after all?

Summer’s end meant midnight reunions on the track
Still rubber permeating the air in the heat of august
Friday night rumors and tailgate daydreams,
Parties with the rich kids and stargazing in the backseat
Peering over the hedges on the football field,
We popped confetti and shouted “go team!” 
But loved the moment we shared more than them

The one winter snow fell on our little town
Prom in the gym that year was so beautiful,
Dancing lovers nestled under a flakey powder blanket,
Watched as the disco balls made stars of the spotlights
They highlighted the love affair, we traded envy for laughter
Fruit punch sometimes stings or leaves stains
But we drove out in our gray sedans and felt like royalty

We’d hide by heaters at the Barnes Crossing mall,
Ride the carousel til we were chased out by security
If the school staff had been careless, there was a small chance,
We could sneak into the theater and stare up at the light fixtures,
Didn’t worry that much about making it back home
Breakfast at the coffee house, lunch at the diner downtown
Staring up by the bleachers when the evening sky rose

I won’t hold on to what I won’t miss
But I’ll certainly miss skipping service at the Baptist
Fast friends, and young love, the pain of growing up too fast,
Every day we drove by the river singing made it worth it
Worn souls, the cruel cold, friendship lasts until the bracelet breaks
Our hearts can only carry the fire of youth for a little while
So I’ll leave our innocence and beautiful ignorance here on the page, 
So that they may fade more slowly

Enchantment

Enchantment

A kaleidoscope of butterflies beat

Their wings against a cage of ribs

Their wings heavy

Yet heart so light

As it implodes in sheer joy

Spreading into the chest like fireworks

Happiness the sparks

Chest the canvas of the dark sky

-Aisha E.